Holding your baby is a surreal experience. You will experience a range of emotions that will give you a sense of urgency to protect your baby. You may also become too concerned over the slightest blemish, pester the doctor with questions about your child’s health and worry if they are the right weight.
The only way you can reduce your apprehensions is by learning about how to take care of newborns. Having a good pediatrician in your corner can help you understand if your baby is doing fine or may have an underlying condition that can pose a problem later in their life. So as you welcome your child into this world, here are some factors you should know about them and act accordingly:
Things You Should Know For Newborn Baby Care
Discovering your baby got hurt during birth can be a painful ordeal. But educating yourself on common birth injuries can help you prepare for the worst and inform you how this situation occurred in the first place. Some babies may show signs of a birth injury right after delivery, while others may have conditions that take time before they appear.
For example, an injury like cerebral palsy is caused by a medical mishap. This condition results from oxygen deprivation to your infant’s brain during birth. The symptoms of cerebral palsy depend on the extent of the brain damage. If your baby had a mild case of low oxygen, there might be trace warning signs, but in severe cases, you’ll notice symptoms like stiff legs, inability to keep their head up, and a drooping arm.
By familiarizing yourself with the classification of cerebral palsy, you’ll be more informed to point out the severity of your baby’s condition. This prepares you for the medications you’ll need for your infant, the type of therapy they need, and what at-home remedies you can try on your baby. In addition to cerebral palsy, other birth injuries may be Erb’s palsy, fractured, and fluids under their skin. Read up on them.
Babies are born in a range of weights. Factors like genetics, arriving earlier than expected, and your nutrition during pregnancy can contribute to the baby’s overall mass. However,the WHO puts the weight of a baby at seven pounds, babies weighing five to eight pounds are still healthy.
On the other hand, infants less than five pounds fall in the underweight category. When your child has a lower than the average weight, a pediatrician may recommend you feed your baby more and supplement their diet with formula. But, if your infant weighs more than average, they may get wheeled into the NICU since heavier babies have trouble breathing and start showing signs of jaundice. Once your child’s condition stabilizes, they will be back in your arms.
The APGAR test is a simple evaluation a nurse practitioner or a doctor performs on your baby. It is an acronym for Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration. This exam is doneshortly after birth and lasts about five minutes. Observing your baby allows doctors to deduce how successful the delivery was and if your child is in good shape. The scoring is out of two, with one being concerning and two indicating the child is in excellent condition. If the baby has very weak vital signs, they get a zero and may get rushed into the NICU.
A doctor will start from the top, inspecting your baby’s head for wounds, and then move to the infant’s appearance to ensure no injuries or visible bruises are on their skin. A medical provider may also check for a natural flush which suggests the blood has adequate oxygen saturation. Your healthcare practitioner will observe how your child breathes and count the heartbeats with a stethoscope. Generally, babies have a fast heart rate going over a hundred beats a minute.
The doctor will then proceed toward the muscles. During the Grimace stage, the doctor will look at the baby’s reflexes. The doctor may tickle them or check the grip on their hands. A nurse will clean up your baby and hand them to you. After a successful conclusion, your healthcare provider will tell you about your next moves. If you have a perfect score on each category, there is nothing to worry about but a mixture of ones and twos may require prolonging your hospital stay with the child getting monitored overnight.
You pass on certain immunity to your baby. But this is not enough to build a robust immune system. Your infant is vulnerable to many infections and diseases only vaccines can curb. Right after birth, your child may get a shot of vitamin K to stop the bleeding. They must also get a shot of the hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth. A doctor will inform you about the next round of vaccines your child may have as they get older. For instance, when they are about 12 months, you may have to take them in for an MMR vaccine.
A baby can develop unusual signs and symptoms even after you bring them home. These ailments can be severe and may require you to rush into the ER. If your baby is cluster feeding or sleeping in too much, you shouldn’t worry. During the first few days, infants are drowsy and drink milk with breaks. But if you see problems like their tear ducts getting blocked or having any fever with temperatures of 100 F, this can suggest an eye infection.
Symptoms like gasping for air or wheezing should also worry you, and don’t hesitate to rush your infant to the hospital. Additional red flags include diarrhea, extreme lethargy, and unresponsiveness. Consequently, your child’s pediatrician may need to run other scans such as testing for hormonal disorders, genetic conditions, or metabolic problems to help you understand your baby’s situation. From there, the treatment plan depends on the severity of the disease.
When you’re new to parenthood, every minute aspect of your baby may worry you. This is why you must stay on top of your infant’s health and learn what gets classified as usual and what requires medical intervention.
Your baby will respond to you even as a newborn. So don’t let the gurgles, coos, and wiggles alarm you—instead, research on problems that can occur as your offspring grows. Your first stop should be looking into birth injuries and determining when they express themselves, so you can make the necessary adjustments to help your child.
Ask the doctor about your baby’s weight and work on bringing it to the standard range. You should also pay attention to the APGAR score, which can give you an insight if your baby is doing well right after birth. Don’t forget to get your offspring’s vaccines on time. If you see warning signs like high fever, blocked ducts, and lethargy, don’t take them lightly and check into a hospital.